These years have become very interesting to the writer; years of being part of this Church. Almost twenty years was to pass before a Lay Pastor was to be appointed.
In the years 1924 and 25 important decisions were made regarding the buildings, for not only was the Church re-roofed for £60, but a move came from the Sunday School teachers that heating apparatus for the Church be renewed with the intention of adding the new schools heating to it. A request was also made that the church and organ be cleaned before the next Sunday School Anniversary and that the 'new school' be erected as soon as possible. All Sunday School money standing to their credit, beyond their requirements could be used for these purposes and to be handed to the building committee.
Following these suggestions, and at a special united meeting of the Sunday School teachers and Church Members held on 10 September 1925. The Chairman, Rev Gummer-Butt opened the meeting with prayer at 7.45 pm. Those attending were informed that the above request plus wiring for electric lights would cost £2,500. The minutes state that 'after considerable and lengthy discussion of every point, Mr R H Bennett proposed and Mr E Lockwood seconded that the plans be accepted and that money be immediately raised for the building of the new schools as soon as practicable, say the spring of 1926.' The proposal was passed.
Members present at the meeting. Rev Gummer Butt ATS (Chairman)
Officers: Mr J T Ball, Mr F Earl, Mr R H Bennett, Mr J H Lee, Mr J E Frier, Mr H York. Members and Teachers: Miss H GrettonJMiss A Whiteman, Miss W Freer, Miss E Frier, Miss H Frier, Miss E York, Miss Newitt, Mr W Ball, Mr G Frier, Mr E Lockwood, Mr Beaumont, Mrs Oswin, Mrs Cunnington, Mrs Button, Mrs Holmes, Mrs Alien, Mrs F Hyman, Mrs Lovett, Miss James.
Mention can be made that at this same time Mr Garnham conducted a week's mission, and that Saturday night prayer meetings were being continued and enjoyed. Rev C H Weaver offered to come to lead the week-night services, and Mr Bennett's string band was being used at this time.
The Happy Hour commenced with 40 attending.
1926 was Celebration year - 50 years since the new Church building was opened. 10 were baptised on 7 March and Rev I Brook was invited back again to preach at the Anniversary on Easter Sunday; during the morning Communion Service those baptised were received in as new members.
A great Jubilee Bazaar was opened on the Easter Monday and after the Sunday School Anniversary the old Sunday School building, the first church building was demolished.
On Saturday 4 September of the same year, the stonelaying ceremony took place.
A photograph of the Celebration Silver trowel is shown below.
Opening of New Sunday School - as
reported at the time
'Building erected on site of old chapel
The new Sunday Schools at Barrow on Soar Baptist Chapel were opened on Saturday by Mr William Cotes of Market Harborough. The schools, of which the foundation stones were laid at the beginning of last September, have been built on the site adjoining the chapel, on which stood the old chapel built in 1822, which had been used as a Sunday School after the present chapel was erected in 1875.
The buildings were designed by Mr E T Allcock of Loughborough and the contract was placed with Messrs Ball, Sons and Squires. The ground floor comprised a large assembly with a sliding partition enabling the hall to be used with the chapel on special occasions. At the rear are a vestry and kitchen. On the upper floor are four class rooms and a larger room for the senior scholars.
The service in the chapel in the afternoon was conducted by the Rev J H Rushbrooke MA DD President of the Baptist Union and Baptist Commissioner of Europe.
In the course of an eloquent service, he spoke of the call to Christians to carry on the heritage that came to them from the past, not only undiminished but enlarged for those who came after. They started from a vantage ground that others had gained, but unless they were better than their fathers, they had failed. The age needed men and women of Christian character, broad minded sympathies, eager enthusiasm, and enterprise for the Kingdom of God, who would strive to apply the Gospel in every direction and aspect of life.
At the close of the service, the congregation proceeded to the front of the new school for the opening ceremony.
Mr Cotes said he brought the greeting of Sunday School workers and the congratulations of the executive committee of the Union to them at Barrow, that with right down successful Christian sagacity had put first things first and had taken the right direction in God's work by commencing with the children.
Mr E T Allcock handed to Mr Cotes a presentation key, and in doing so acknowledged the great assistance he had received as architect from the building committee. They had entered into every detail with thorough zeal, and his relations with them had been most pleasant throughout. They had been particularly fortunate in their contractors, and as the senior member of the firm of Ball, Sons and Squires was closely interested in the chapel, the work had been a great deal more than a commercial transaction. He hoped the building would serve for many years as a reminder to succeeding generations of the zeal and courage and devotion of the present members of the chapel.
Mr Cotes then unlocked the door, and the Rev Gummer Butt, President of the East Midland Baptist Union, offered a prayer of dedication.
Tea was afterwards provided in the school, and at the evening meeting Aid A E Armstrong (Loughborough) presided in the absence through indisposition of the Mayor of Loughborough.
The Alderman congratulated the Barrow Chapel on having the welfare of the children so earnestly at heart, and wished them every success.
Dr Rushbrooke brought the benediction of the Baptist Union and congratulations on the work achieved in Barrow. He went on to speak of the work of the Baptists on the continent of Europe, in which he said, they were doing something that was worth doing and worth assisting. He reminded them that every Baptist Chapel was a member of one of the largest Christian bodies in the world; with the Methodists next and there were now about twelve million baptised members. That meant they had a great responsibility, and such a body was called to do work in proportion to its strength. They had achieved great things in the past, but these must spur them on to even greater work in the future. One hundred years ago there was not one Baptist on the continent of Europe. The first chapel, formed in Hamburg in 1834 consisted of half a dozen people. In 1850 there were about 5,000 baptists; in1900 about 222,000 and at the present day there were about 1,300,000.
The increase had been especially notable during the years of war, famine, distress and confusion - in Russia the number had grown ten fold since 1914. Even more startling than the growth in members was the fact that of the 26 states on the continent there were Baptist chapels and organised work in all but three - Albania, Greece and Turkey.
Dr Rushbrooke went on to emphasise the necessity for the work, and gave instances of what had been accomplished, pointing out that it was the privilege of the Baptist denomination to press the demand for religious liberty as the right of all citizens. This great work on the continent was now imperilled by financial difficulties, and unless it obtained more substantial support there was grave risk that it would have to be either abandoned or greatly reduced.
Solos were sung by Miss H Gretton and Miss York. Mr A Peat was at the organ.
The Rev J D Thomas, Vicar of Barrow, expressed his pleasure at the success of the Baptists in this work, and congratulated them most warmly. The day of small things was not to be despised, and in the work they still had to do he was confident they had God on their side in their venture of faith. These were days of big 'stunts' and people were willing to be seen to be doing big things, but were apt to shirk their duty in small things. He urged them to be as ready and willing to do little things in life.
Short addresses of congratulation and encouragements were given by Revs J W Cannings (Beeston), J R Godfrey (Leicester), G A Ambrose (Quorn) and J A Caldwell (Mountsorrel).
Thanks to the speakers were voiced by Mr J E Frier and Mr H York.
During the evening a financial statement was given by the Secretary, Mr York, who said that the approximate cost of the schools were £2,505, and the renovation of the chapel and cleaning and improvement of the organ now to be undertaken would add a further £250. By special efforts they had raised £1,373 leaving £1,382 still to be
obtained, towards which the Baptist Building Fund had lent them £500 to be repaid in ten years.
On a separate account they had raised £29 towards £32 spent on buying a new piano.
Special services were held on the Sunday, the preacher being the Rev G A Ambrose of Quom. In the afternoon, a Sacred Cantata 'Lambs of His Flock' was given by the choir and scholars, Mr R H Bennett conducting and Mr C Peat accompanying on the organ. The soloists were Misses H Gretton, E York, I Kettle and Mr H Frier; duets were given by Misses R Dakin and E Oswin.
There were large congregations to all the services, and collections were in aid of the New School Fund.'